The majority of President Trump's evangelical advisors, such as Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress, have stood by the president last week after he received backlash for his response to violence in Charlottesville. However, one of his pastors, A.R. Bernard, announced Friday that he stepped down from the unofficial board, reports The Washington Post. This is a first for the evangelical advisory council.
Bernard, a New York City-based pastor, sat at president’s table on May 3. This was the night before the National Day of Prayer, an event where Trump gathered several religious leaders to announce an executive order on religious freedom.
Bernard's church is the Brooklyn-based Christian Cultural Center. It claims 37,000 in membership, and it has been called the largest evangelical church in New York City. Bernard submitted his official letter of resignation on Tuesday, says the Post, which was the same day that President Trump made his controversial statements about the racially motivated marches in Charlottesville.
The pastor posted a formal statement about his resignation on Twitter on Friday. He explained that he experienced a "deepening conflict in values" between himself and the administration. He also shared that he had stepped away from active involvement in the committee several months ago.
Bernard was also a part of Trump’s advisory council during the presidential campaign, but he played a small role. It's also important to note that the pastor, although he sat on Trump's committee and is registered Republican, he voted twice for Bill Clinton and twice for Barak Obama.
Other evangelical leaders have stood behind the president. Many of them tweeted their support.
Pastor Robert Jeffress tweeted, "Honored to serve @POTUS on his Faith Initiative Council. He has done more in 6 mo. to protect religious liberty than any pres. in history."
Jerry Falwell, president of Liberty University, also voiced his support via Twitter.
He wrote, "Finally a leader in WH. Jobs returning, N Korea backing down, bold truthful stmt about #charlottesville tragedy.So proud of @realdonaldtrump."
Bernard wrote in his statement that sometimes takes "a gather of unlikely individuals to shape the future of our nation on issues of faith and inner city initiatives." He says he was initially willing to be one of the "unlikely" individuals, but evidently, he gave up on that mission. Unlike the men who stand by President Trump, he'd rather protect his reputation than stick around to help shape America.
What do you think of Pastor Bernard's resignation? If you want to read more about religious leaders, Billy Graham has one last warning for America.